My work began as a rebellion of what I saw as the art “norms” as I began my practice—art as masculine, sterile, unsentimental—and an affirmation of myself as a woman in that art world. It became a juxtaposition of the traditional painting techniques I learned in art school and my interest in those things that were feminine, soft, and often funny. In the literal sense my art is an exploration of an alternate world where we become children again, and meet the parts of ourselves we abandoned as we became old—the anxieties, the joys, and the dreams—with those parts reimagined into monstrous creatures. The creatures are as complicated as we are, and I explore that ambiguous line between concepts that are conventionally at odds—the beautiful and the ugly, the tender and the horrific, the funny and the tragic. I juxtapose the soft, storybook quality of watercolor painting with the rich and harsh darks of graphite, or the boldness of oil paint stick, to reflect these concepts. I often start with a random application of paint, which I then interpret into characters in a Rorschach-like process—a sad looking bean monster, or a celery stalk of a person-thing. I explore the limits of empathy in these works: how much can I make the viewer feel for a jumbled shape-of-something if I give it human features, and at what point do we stop feeling for these beings? I want to create unease as well as compassion for these otherworldly creatures, the pieces of ourselves that we have left behind, to tap into and reflect upon something both viscerally and tragically human.